Increase in cyclists: what should commercial landlords adapting space in buildings to include bike parking consider? - Boodle Hatfield

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04 Aug 2022

Increase in cyclists: what should commercial landlords adapting space in buildings to include bike parking consider?

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Today (4th August) marks "cycle to work day". An article published in the Evening Standard on 19 July 2022 referenced a 14% increase in weekday cyclists in London by comparing data from March to mid-June 2022 with the same period in 2019. More people are cycling to work post-Covid.

Office cycle is now a "must-have" rather than a "nice-to-have". This is enshrined in the 2021 London Plan. In central London, new office developments should include 1 cycle space per 75 sqm for employees and additional spaces for visitors / customers. In order to compete with new developments for tenants, commercial landlords of existing office stock without cycling parking provision, might be thinking of adapting their properties to include cycle parking. Landlords considering this opportunity should think about:

  • Whether changing rooms and showering facilities would also be required?
  • Whether the space identified for conversion to cycle parking is demised to a building tenant or whether a tenant has any rights over the space?
  • How employees are to access this cycle parking? Are there safe routes from the outside or through the building?
  • Will the buildings insurance policy cover any incidents that arise in providing cycle parking?
  • Is any planning permission / listed buildings consent required for the conversion works?
  • If the landlord itself has a lease of the office building, are any consents of the reversioner required?

For other property investors, the boom in cycling to work presents an opportunity. Londoners are not just cycling to work, but are cycling to see friends, to play sports, to shop and to go to dinner. The Evening Standard on 31 May 2022 reported an average of 390 thefts per 100,000 people. Londoners require secure cycle storage (outside of their homes and workplaces) and companies such as Spokesafe are capitalising on this opportunity. Building owners who consider implementing such arrangements themselves or leasing space to a cycle hub organisation will need to consider the above points, in addition to thinking about the impact of such an arrangement on existing tenants in terms of access, nuisance and health & safety.

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